"Where Have All The Children Gone?"

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2002
A story based on the series, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"

The characters of Voltron are the property of World Event Productions.  All other characters are the copyright of Adele.  Please do not use them without asking for permission. 

Thank you.

Enjoy!


Chapter 13
The Truth Comes out

Six hours had passed since Lotor last visited the imprisonment area.

The children next store were silent...possibly asleep.  Allura had slumped down along the wall toward the back of the cell, and Keith had taken a seat next to her, leaving a discrete distance between them.

Whatever Lotor had planned, he obviously had prepared well, this time.

Allura sighed just above a whisper, and Keith turned his head only slightly in response. The two of them had hardly said a word to each other the entire time since the children were separated from them.

Keith was deep in thought, trying to figure out some way of escape, and frustrating himself at each failure.

"Are you asleep, Keith?" Allura finally whispered to him.

He only shook his head no at her. 

She bit her lower lip, not sure if he was angry with her or at Lotor.

She decided to find out...

"Are you mad at me for not taking heed to your warning against resurrecting the Festival tradition?" she asked quietly, waiting for his wrathful response.

Instead, he only sighed, shaking his head no to her question.

"Why won't you talk to me, Keith?" she suddenly lashed out. "For several hours now, you've not said more than a few words to me!  Why won't you talk to me now?"

"I'm trying to think of some
way to get us out of here."
He simply replied.

"Do...do you think we can?"
she asked quietly.

It was then, for the first time in a few
hours that Keith looked up at her.
"Don't you give up on me, Princess!"

"It seems so hopeless,"
she said breathlessly.
"How can we possibly
escape?"

Keith immediately lessened the distance between them, and scooted up next to her. "Princess, we can't give up!  That's what Lotor wants the most!  He wants to break our spirits!"

"I know that you're right, but..."

"But what?" he asked.

Keith saw the tears running down her face.  Her voice became unsteady as she spoke. "I only wished that you and I could have shared more time together...just when we were getting to really know one another."

Keith lifted his hand and gently grasped her chin, turning her head toward him to meet his gaze. "Allura, look at me..."

She reluctantly looked into his deep onyx-colored eyes. "Listen to me, Allura," Keith continued. "I'm not giving up, and neither should you!  We're in this thing together for the long haul!  Promise me that no matter what happens, you'll be strong!"

"But Keith, Lotor said in 12 hours..."

"Promise me, Allura!  You've got to promise me that you'll remain strong!" Keith insisted, now grabbing her shoulders and turning her toward him. "Promise me! Come on, Allura... I said, PROMISE me!"

The tears ran fast and furious down her cheeks. "I...I promise, Keith!" she gasped. "But this is all my fault!  I can't stand the thought that Lotor might kill you... and its all because of me!"

Keith smiled. "I want you to know that no matter what happens to me, I'll never be sorry that it happened because of you."

"You should have never returned to Arus, Keith..." Allura whimpered. "You'd still have a chance for life if you would have remained on Earth and stayed away from me. I'm like... some sort of poison..."

"You know that's not true!" Keith said in a raised voice. "You're not poison!  And you also know that Arus has been my home since I first came here eight years ago!  When I left to return to Earth, I was miserable...I hated living there!  All the bureaucratic
nonsense... I just didn't fit in anymore.  I loved my job, but to see those low-lives that pretended to be hierarchy run the Alliance the way that they didbesides...all I thought about for those five years was...you."

Allura looked up at him suddenly, teardrops dangling from her eyelashes. "Me?  You thought about...me?"

"Yeah! You know, I've always thought of you as top flight!" Keith said with a smile.

"Top flight...uh...I'm not sure, but does that mean something good?" Allura asked, a small grin forming across her face.

"It means...you're the best.  And I'd be a fool not to see that.  That's what Lance has been trying to tell me since we've returned to Arus.  He could see it in me. I was just too stubborn to admit it." Keith replied, releasing her, and leaning up against the cold wall of the cell.

"Admit what, Keith?" she asked.

Keith tipped his head upward. "To admit that...maybe I've lost my heart to you."

Allura sat silently for a moment, allowing his words to absorb deep into her heart. "He does!  He does care for me!  I can't believe it!  After all of this time...wait a minute..."


"Keith, why are you telling me this now?" she said suddenly.

Keith shrugged his shoulders without responding.  "Why not?"

She sat as silently as he did, pondering what he said, and trying to determine why he said it.  Allura also ran through in her mind, a recent conversation that she had with Lance.



Subject: Keith.


Lance had followed her after dinner the night before they were to go to Capri.  She was distraught over the apparent distance that Keith had placed between them over the idea of restoring the tradition of Festival of Lions. It was no secret that he didn't like the idea, and he certainly didn't hesitate to tell her.

Lance watched Allura retreat to the gardens, hoping to find peace there...away from Keith.  He watched her as she moved toward a bench near the middle of the garden, and slowly sank into it.  He hesitated for a few moments, then decided that she needed companywhether she wanted it or not.

"Hey, what's a pretty lady like you doing out here all by yourself?" Lance said as he approached her.

"Oh, hello Lance." Allura replied quietly. "I thought you were with Hunk, Pidge and Keith in the lounge for dessert."

"Nope, Hunk and Pidge are playing video games, and Keith went off to his room to study tomorrow's flight plan.  He's really bugged out over this trip tomorrow.  I don't know why." Lance replied. "It sounds like a lot of fun to me."

Allura said nothing regarding Lance's comment of Keith.  She instead, bent her head down, crossing her legs and placing her hands in lap.  Lance took note of her mood.

"May I sit down with you, Princess?" he asked in a gentlemanly manner.

Allura nodded quietly, not lifting her eyes to him.

Lance took a seat down next to her, and together, the two of them sat silently for a while. It got boring quickly

"Princess, why do you suppose that Keith is so overprotective of you all of the time?" Lance asked.

Allura sighed. "I suppose its because he feels he's obligated to protect me as the Princess of Planet Arus."

Lance shook his head. "I don't think so..."

Allura finally lifted her head and turned to meet his gaze. "What do you mean?  Keith is always concerned for my protection.  He insists onaccompanying me everywhere I go outside of the Castle, and if he can't be there, he makes one of you boys come with me."

"But why do you really think he does that?" Lance asked again.

"I don't know..." she replied, as she shook her head in frustration.

"Oh, I think you do, Princess." Lance said with a smile.

Allura blinked her eyes several times, attempting to read between the lines. "What is it that I'm suppose to know, Lance?"

"You both know it, but one of you has to be brave enough to say it to the other." Lance replied, still smiling at her.

"Say what?" she asked carefully.

Lance sighed in frustration. "Do I have to spell it out for you too?" He rose to his feet and took a few steps forward before turning back to her.

"It's plain that there's something sparking between the both of you, but he's too stubborn to admit to it, and youwell...maybe your too naive to see it."

"Naïve? Me? What are you talking about, Lance?" she said, her voice sounding more frustrated with him. "As you would say, speak plain English, please!"

"Okay...I think that Keith is in love with you...and I also think that you're in love with him! Is that plain enough for you?" Lance smirked.

"Keith? Do you really think so? How do you know this? Did he tell you this?" A multitude of questions flew from her lips, eager to find out what Lance knew.

Lance threw his hands up in front of him. "No...he didn't exactly tell me...at least, not with words.  But his actions do.  You see Princess, there's a very old saying on Earth, and it goes something like this: Actions speak louder then words.  Keith doesn't have to tell me, he shows me by the way that he fusses over protecting you.  You mean a great deal to him, personally.  And he's acquired a pretty long track record of taking a beating on your behalf."

"But...I'm sure that's because I'm a princess..."

"Do you really believe that, Allura?" Lance cornered her. "Do you really think that the time he willingly came looking for your soul that Hagar had kidnapped and dragged to the dream dimension was out of duty and honor?  He faced his own fears there, and overcame all obstacles to bring your spirit back to your body...and it wasn't just because you were the princess...or the Blue Lion pilot.  It was because he cared so much that he had to do it.  It was in his nature like a second skin.  He did it out of love, Allura...not out of duty!"

Allura thought about that incident. Keith had faced off with Hagar, over a battle of her soul.  He nearly died doing so.  He nearly died many times protecting her from harm. And then there were the times he shared conversation with her. Just the two of them...sometimes right here in the garden.

"Oh, Lance...I never thought that he cared for me like that!" Allura said, a look of astonishment was on her face.

"And, you do feel the same, don't you?" Lance added.

Allura nodded slowly. "But...I'm afraid.  I've never fallen in love before.  I don't know if this is really love!  What if I'm infatuated with the idea of falling in love?  How do I know which is which?"

"You'll know," Lance replied with a smile and a wink. "Your heart can tell the difference...if you let it tell you.  Keith's just as scared as you are.  He's never been serious with a girlin all of the time I've known him. This is new for him too, trust me! And you'll just have to wait for the right time."

"How will I know when that is?" Allura replied.

"You'll know that too. Your heart is a very interesting thing, Princess.  If you really look at him, you'll see he's as afraid of it as you are.  One of you has be brave enough to say the words." Lance winked.

Allura reflected on that conversation with Lance. "If you really look at him, you'll see he's as afraid of it as you are.  One of you has be brave enough to say the words."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Allura's heart suddenly saw the fear that he had tried so hard to hide away from the world.

"You're afraid, aren't you?" she said quietly. "You're telling me this now, because you're afraid that you won't be around to tell me later.  Is that it?"

"Not exactly," he replied even toned. "I'm telling you this so that in case we do make it out in one piece, we have something stronger to base our...uh...friendship on."

"Friendship?" Allura exclaimed. "Oh, it's gone way beyond that in just a few minutes!"

"I know, I know...but I don't know what else to call it.  I mean, its not a blooming romance, and this sure isn't my idea of a first date situation!" Keith chuckled, attempting to make lightheartedness of the whole thing. "I'd much prefer to take you to that nice little restaurant near the Castleyou know, the one in the town that has the
horse-drawn carriage rides. That's where I'd have asked you to go on a first date."

"And would you bring me flowers?" she beamed.

Keith turned toward her suddenly. "Not just flowers, Allura...I'd bring you red roses! At least two dozen of them!"

"And what then what?" she prodded.

"Well, I won't sing to you, that's out..." he said with a sudden seriousness to his vocal tone.

Allura frowned. "Why not?  You could stand just below my balcony and serenade me!"

"I can't, Princess" he insisted.

"Why not?"

"I can't sing...I'm tone deaf!" he snickered.

"Really?" she gasped playfully.

"Completely!" he affirmed. "The only thing I'd attract with my voice are cats!"

They both broke down laughing, for what seemed to be quite a long time.  They both began catching their breath, and the laughter reduced to giggling.

"I know," Allura thought. "Maybe you could come to me like Romeo did in that book you let me read one from...from...oh, what was that guy's name?"

"Shakespeare!  William Shakespeare! And no, I don't think I'll do that either. Remember, in the book, when Romeo did that, he and Juliet got into a lot of trouble." Keith replied, the smile still remaining on his face.

"Well then, Commander, I guess you'll just have to marry me!" she smiled sincerely.

Keith paused, hearing the words 'marry me' resonate in his head.  He suddenly became very serious.  "Princess Allura, I'm afraid that I'll...never be worthy enough to hold that honor."

"What in the world are you talking about?" she said, suddenly becoming equally serious.

"Princess, joking about it is one thing..."

"Who's joking?" she said with a smile. "I was serious!"

"Princess,"

"And why are you suddenly calling me by my title?  You know, I think that you're afraid of the title that I bear." Allura snorted.

"What?" Keith shouted.

"Don't give me that, 'I have no idea what you mean' look!  You know exactly what I mean!  Every time you get into a tight situation with me, you find you need to hide behind my title and call me 'Princess'!"

"That's ridiculous!" he replied.

"Is it?" she asked.

"Yes! It is!" he insisted. "I simply mean that you and I come from two totally different lifestyles. I'm a pilot and"

"And I absolutely hate what you're about to say!  The bit about 'I'm a pilot and you're a princess' stuff!  Tell me, do you like me because of my title, or because I'm an attractive woman?"

"This is silly," he insisted.

"Do you like me for my title?" she repeated. "I want an answer, Commander!"

"Of course not!"

"Alright then! I don't want to hear another word about how unworthy you think you are for me.  If anything, I'm unworthy of you!" she replied.

"You...unworthy of... me?" Keith choked out. "Tell me I didn't just hear that!  You come from a very important background.  I'm a nobody from Earth, with a nobody background!"

"You're not a nobody, Keith!  You're the hero of Arus, my protector, my...friend.  That makes you very important!  And as for your lacking background, being a royal or not, does not pre-constitute whether or not you can like whom you choose!"

"Allura..."

"Let me finish!  I really think there's something here for us, but we have to be brave enough to find it and act on it!  I'm not untouchable, Keith! I'm a woman...and you're a man. Nature meant for this type of attraction...title or no!  What reason do we have to refuse nature's proper course?"

Keith opened his mouth for rebuttal, but found the words were not there.  She had stolen them from him.  Instead, he let out a sigh, loud enough that it echoed in the cell.

"How can I fight against such logic?" he retreated.

"And so..." she prodded again.

"And so...let's see what happens." He said quietly.

"Promise?" she said, moving her face closer to his face.

Keith paused, feeling her breath gently touching his lips. "I promise, but first, let's worry about getting out of this mess, getting the children home safely, and then when Arus is safe, I'd like to take you out on a date."

"A date?" she beamed suddenly.

"Yeah," Keith replied with a smile on his face. "A date..."

Allura winked playfully. "It's a date!"

Both of them turned their backs up against the wall of the cell, still sitting closely to each other.  Allura's thoughts were on what might happen on the date.

Keith's were what's going to happen to them right now.  Lotor's threat was real, and he wanted Arus...and it's princess.  He went back to thinking on a way to get them all out of there.  Hope was fading fast as time slowly moved forward.

"I only hope I have a chance to know you better, Allura..." Keith thought quietly.
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